Lola Okolosie likes the Language Police over White people:
Of course, this Language Policing is only over White people because we are the Historical Oppressors. Blacks can say whatever they want.
Any non-white or immigrant defending PC is saying, “We like having a special law to use to oppress White people and White people alone.”
PC language is widely viewed as an encroachment on individual freedom. In this sense, the persistent rightwing offensive on the concept has won out. The argument goes that offensive language is so because those taking offence choose to; equality, therefore, is the right to demean and abuse minorities if the fancy takes you. Political correctness as humourless language policing is an idea so normalised that blatantly racist, sexist, ableist and homophobic slurs can be protected under the rubric of free speech. It has become banal and even tyrannical to try to argue for language and behaviour that respects women and minorities.
What is needed is a rejection of the anodyne compromise that political correctness has become. Once it was about recognising that language has the power to construct reality, as do social structures. Believing in equality and the fundamental changes that are required to realise it means working on ourselves as individuals at the level of language, and the institutions that sustain our unequal society. Simply minding your words isn’t enough and when we say it is, we leave the values of the term open to lip service.
The right has consistently trounced political correctness but many adept rightwing politicians regularly use it to their advantage. Nick Griffin and Nigel Farage, at least in public, utilise the language of political correctness to appear measured and reasonable. Yet this does not mean that their politics are progressive.
Moments where the veneer of tolerance and respect are unmasked should be viewed as useful instances for reflection. They mark the points at which we can openly discuss how far we have yet to go. What often happens is an eye-rolling harrumph about the PC police. Recalcitrant resistance to what it is really about – a wish to root civility and fairness in society – will only continue to sound as worn-out as Oldman’s rehashed antisemitic stereotypes.
The tide is turning; greater equality is not a sufferance but a human right. Quite why this should leave so many seething and feeling victimised is a conundrum.